In recent years, peer influence is closely associated with customer decision-making processes and consumer behaviors. Popularity isn’t just a concern for celebrities anymore, research shows that economic and social decisions rely on perceptions of popularity too.
There are a few theories that explain the impact of collective behavior among people and why certain items or individuals become more popular than others. One theory is that quality drives popularity. However, another theory suggests that popularity is driven by intrinsic values, such as the product’s brand value, more than quality.
Most human behaviour is the result of peer-to-peer socialization that produces fads and trends. Herd mentality/mob mentality is prominent particularly in products that provide value that are more intangible. Some product choices may not be based on rationality, but more on the feel-good factor that the products provide.
Most consumers rely on other consumers’ word of mouth (a form of peer-to-peer referral) when making a decision over any other medium. This can be leveraged in a business setting, particularly in advertising where contagious contents can be created to encourage peer-to-peer referring behaviours. One way of doing this is by following the 6 key STEPPS theory developed Dr Jonah Berger:
- Social Currency
If a product makes others look good or feel empowered, then they are more likely to share it because they want to seem cool and up to date.
Photos are taken form the owners Instagram account
What triggers people to remember a certain brand? Take Digi’s advertisement jingle ‘I will follow you’.
People share things they care about. When you focus on feeling rather than function, your content resonates with customers making them more willing to share.
The idea here is that our decisions are affected by what others are doing. The more public something is, the more likely people will follow it. People like to follow fads and trends to be in the know-how of things.
- Practical value
People share things that they find useful. Take kindle for instance, book lovers can have access to numerous numbers of books when traveling anywhere, at anytime.
Lastly, a narrative can be a powerful tool when it comes to explaining your brand message to others. It is more impact-full then any description you may provide. Create a narrative that people find captivating and would want to share it to others. Take Nike’s ‘unlimited you‘ commercial.
Dr Jonah suggest that you do not necessarily need all 6 factors. But the more you have the more viral your content will be, in turn creates more customer referrals.